First time in Japan? Make a beeline for Kyoto, one of the best places in the country to experience some of old Japan’s cultural and historical highlights.
Kyoto is known as Japan’s cultural capital, and is often described as its spiritual heart. It has over 2,000 atmospheric Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to explore, including the iconic Kinkaku-ji golden pavilion and Kiyomizudera Temple. As you make your way around these masterpieces of religious architecture, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, you’ll also stroll through peaceful, beautiful Zen gardens.
While Japan’s other major cities are known for being super-modern, Kyoto holds onto many of the country’s old ways. Here, you’ll be able to sip tea in traditional teahouses and see graceful geisha. In the Nishijin textile district, you can even hunt down treasures of the past in its arts and crafts and ancient speciality shops.
Kyoto may be sightseeing heaven, but it’s also known for its incredible food. The city is reported to have over 100 Michelin-starred restaurants, along with craft beer bars, izakaya Japanese pub-eateries and noodle bars. You can even tuck into delicious pop-up foodie experiences – from the fresh local delicacies at the Nishiki food market to traditional tea ceremonies where matcha is whisked and poured in front of you.
If you’re planning a visit to Kyoto, make sure you give yourself a good few days. This is a city you’ll want to immerse yourself in. Go at the right time of year and you might even see those stunning cherry blossoms burst into flower – although of course this is when Kyoto is at its busiest.
Plan your trip to Kyoto today.